Senate Sets September Endgame on New START

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2010
CONTACT: Kingston Reif, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation, 202.546.0795, ext. 2103, kreif@clw.org

Washington, D.C. – Council for a Livable World today applauded the decision by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to set a schedule for a vote on the New START treaty in September.

This schedule means that the Committee believes it is time to move from hearings and questions to decisions this fall.

“The debate over the national security merits of the treaty is over,� said John Isaacs, Executive Director of the Council. “New START enjoys overwhelming support from current and retried U.S. military leaders and former high-ranking government officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations. The 20 hearings held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and other committees to date have built an impressive bipartisan record in support of the treaty and provided answers to all of the key substantive questions about the treaty.�

Isaacs added: “As of today, it’s been 241 days and counting since START I expired and with it our on-site monitoring and verification presence in Russia. The Senate should give its advice and consent to New START as soon as possible because the greater the uncertainties about Russia’s forces, the more likely U.S. defense planners will engage in costly worst case estimates about U.S. force requirements.�

New START requires modest reductions in the deployed strategic nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia and restores an essential means of monitoring and verifying each side’s nuclear forces that has been absent since the START I treaty expired on December 5, 2009.

“A handful of Republican Senators have indicated that they would like to support New START pending resolution of their concerns over funding for the nuclear weapons complex, which is separate from the limits and verification provisions in the treaty,� said Kingston Reif, the Council’s Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation. "I am confident that when a vote occurs the Senate will provide its advice and consent to the treaty by an overwhelming margin.�

“Nevertheless, the longer the treaty remains in limbo, the less information we will have about Russia’s still enormous deployed nuclear arsenal,� Reif added. “Raising questions and concerns, while part of the process, should not be used as an excuse to delay the treaty indefinitely.�